Like us all, yet in his own, serious ways, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a flawed man. Yet, he is one of my heroes. What I most admire about him is his courage to speak the truth in love, showing respect to those who disagreed with him. We were a divided nation, and Dr. King knew his work would likely cost him his life. But, like Daniel, Martin Luther King would not bend his back or turn from the lion’s den; he kept speaking truth in love with respect. Why? He answered that question once in a sermon:
“…And it seemed at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you, even until the end of the world.’
I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”
Dr. King reminds me of the familiar words of Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
For me, Dr. King is a rare, refreshing, and painfully uncomfortable example of someone who gave his life for a just and true cause, contending for it in a kind, loving, and peaceable manner. He also reminds me of a time when, this side of heaven, truth actually prevailed.